DETROIT – Restaurants across Michigan have been reopening this week, but it hasn’t been an easy decision for some.
Some districts, such as Detroit’s Greektown, are known for being jam-packed with crowds. That makes for a tricky balancing act between having fun and social distancing.
In Greektown, 18 restaurants and bars have opened again with coronavirus (COVID-19) safety guidelines in place.
“It’s just like opening a restaurant all over again,” said Tasso Teftsis, co-owner of Astoria Pastry Shop and Red Smoke Barbecue.
Astoria Pastry Shop reopened Friday, but Red Smoke Barbecue is open for carry-out only. Teftsis said his employees are ready to get back to work.
“I’m excited,” Astoria Pastry Shop employee Asia Winters said. “I’m very excited.”
The routine will be different for workers, but Winters said they’re ready to serve Greektown visitors with new safety measures in place, such as glass barriers at each register.
“This is what we’ve been doing anyway -- washing our hands and staying safe,” Winters said. “Now we’ve just got a little extra precaution.”
Teftsis said his businesses have lost tens of thousands of dollars, and even though Greektown has reopened, capacity restrictions will limit business.
“Instead of 350 people tonight, we’ll probably have around 100 people,” said Spero Dionysopoulos, co-owner of Golden Fleece and Exodus. “We’re losing money from Golden Fleece. We’re losing money from Exodus, and we’re remodeling the entire building, essentially.”
The owners of Golden Fleece and Exodus have used down time to remodel the building, adding a Greek grocery store and wine bar, which will hopefully make up for some of their losses.
Some restaurants, such as Pegasus, have delayed opening until later this month.
“Without the Tigers and perhaps the Lions, I’m not sure if they’re going to be reopening without fans, but that’s deeply going to affect our district,” said Melanie Markowicz, executive director of the Greektown neighborhood partnership.
District officials hope business will eventually pick back up, but for now, they’re happy to have some options to serve customers.
While most bars and restaurants in Greektown have reopened or are planning to do so this weekend, Five Guys and Wahlburgers remain closed. Officials for the two restaurants will wait to see how reopening goes in Greektown before making a decision.